Featured Research: New Forms of Collaborative Innovation and Production on the Internet

In my series of featured research on open innovation and mass customization, today I would like to present you a book (also availible as free downloadable pdf) published by my colleagues Volker Wittke and Heidemarie Hanekop (Goettingen University). They present an interdisciplinary view on the effects of broad (online) collaboration on innovation and production.

WittkeNew Forms of Collaborative Innovation and Production on the Internet

By Volker Wittke and Heidemarie Hanekop (Editors)

Published byUniversitätsverlag Göttingen, 2011, ISBN 978-3-86395-020-0

Availible for free download and hardcover purchase at Universitätsverlag Göttingen


The Internet has enabled new forms of large-scale collaboration. Voluntary contributions by large numbers of users and co-producers lead to new forms of production and innovation, as seen in Wikipedia, open source software development, in social networks or on user-generated content platforms as well as in many firm-driven Web 2.0 services.

In their book, editors Volker Wittke and Heidemarie Hanekop take a nuanced look at the (online) collaboration landscape, presenting a collection of papers contributed by international scholars from sociology, management research, economics, and law. Complemented by a number of very interesting case studies, this book provides a good (academic) overview on the "big picture" of online-based collaboration in innovation and production.

Large-scale collaboration on the Internet is an intriguing phenomenon for scholarly debate because it challenges well established insights into the governance of economic action, the sources of innovation, the possibilities of collective action and the social, legal and technical preconditions for successful collaboration. Although contributions to the debate from various disciplines and fine-grained empirical studies already exist, there has been a lack of an interdisciplinary approach. This is exactly where this book provides great value — and as it is open access and free for download, it may serve as a good starting point for the debate.

Note: For more books on open innovation, co-creation, and corwdsourcing, head to the Knowledge Base of my website.

About the Author:

Frank T. Piller is a Co-Director of the MIT Smart Customization Group at the MIT Media Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, and a chair professor of management at the Technology & Innovation Management Group of RWTH Aachen University, Germany, one of Europe’s leading institutes of technology. Before entering his recent position in Aachen, he worked at the MIT Sloan School of Management (2004-2007) and has been an associate professor of management at TUM Business School, Technische Universitaet Muenchen. Frequently quoted in The New York Times, The Economist, and Business Week, amongst others, Frank is regarded as one of the leading experts on strategies for customer-centric value creation, like mass customization, personalization, and innovation co-creation. His recent analysis of the crowdsourcing business model “Threadless” (co-authored with Susumu Ogawa), an innovative crowdsourcing business model in the fashion industry, has been elected as one of the Top-20 articles in MIT Sloan Management Review.